Weekends are the best right? Happy hour cocktail specials with no bed time, late nights out with martinis, a few shots to get you dancing on tables, delicious wine with dinner, day time BBQs with beer, and champagne brunch. Often our festivities include booze, why? Because it’s fun! But alcohol is toxic one way or another, so here are my best tips from experience and a little research to help you proactively and reactively manage booze and fun. It’s all about balance right? There is no reason why we can’t have it all.
Top 10 Tips on How to Avoid a Hangover
Your best line of defense is always offense. So go in with a plan, be smart, stick to it and reap the morning rewards. Think of the productivity you get out of a hangover free Saturday morning? Here are my best bits for a fun night that shouldn’t leave too much of a mark on your morning:
- Don’t over drink. Know your limits and stick to it! Bring cash if you have too so you can’t go over your budget. Aim for no more than 1 drink per hour.
- Drink water. This is a must! Almost as critical as #1. Alcohol is dehydrating by nature, so what do you want to do? Replace the fluid by drinking more. If a cocktail is in your hand when you’re thirsty, you will drink it. Costing you more money, calories and increasing your chances of hangover bliss.
- Avoid caffeine. It’s simply dehydrating, which, as stated above will make you drink more.
- Rotate boozy for non-booze drinks. Think vodka soda then just soda.This saves you money, calories and morning hangover tax and really can be just as much fun. Remember your objective; are you out to celebrate with your friends or just get ridiculously wasty face and feel bad in the morning?
- Eat before you go out. This will line your stomach and slow the absorption of alcohol, delaying the onset of “symptoms.” Symptoms being you getting drunk and losing control of your plan. The worst thing you can do is “save your calories” for alcohol. Ug! Been there, done that and you are essentially begging the hangover gods for a spiritual retreat in the morning.
- Stick with one type of alcohol. Mixing up additives and toxins will just make it more confusing for your system in the morning. Let it focus on eliminate one toxin at a time and let’s assume it can do it a bit quicker. Metabolisms aren’t known for multitasking. So axe the beer with happy hour, wine with dinner and chocolate martini for dessert. That is a toxic recipe that will take your body way too long to figure out how to break down.
- Choose light colored booze over dark. Think gin and vodka over whisky and dark rum. They have less “congeners” which the Mayo Clinic says have more impurities, of course, making it harder for your body to clear out, delaying your hangover symptoms. And if you really want to get into the scientific rationale, here you go!
- Avoid bubbles if you can — some studies show that they increase alcohol absorption. Again, getting you boozed up faster and increasing your likelihood of flying off the Friday night handle.
- Dance! Alcohol is intoxicating, but it is also an energy source, and very dense at that with 7 calories per gram (carbohydrate and protein only give you 4). This is typically a bad thing, because if those calories aren’t burned, they will be stored as fat. But you can also consider them jet fuel for a long night on the dance floor. An hour of dancing can also easily burn 300 calories, 2 SkinnyTinis! Check out this fun calculator to see your potential.
- Water and B vitamin before bed. I’m not sure exactly what the vitamin will do, but if you are alert enough at the end of the night to remember to dig it out of the cupboard and suck it down with a liter of water, you are likely to be in pretty good shape in the morning.
Top 10 Tips for Hangover Cures
Well, so maybe something went awry. Perhaps you thought it better to pass on dinner for the extra cocktail? Maybe you met richy-rich and the cocktails were free flowing and you just couldn’t spoil the fun? Perhaps your friends talk you right of the detox course into a path of retox destruction? Whatever happened, there is no sense in beating your self up about it now. Check it off the list as a killer night out and follow these tips to get ship-shape as soon as you can.
- Drink water. Just like before. The problem with alcohol (other than it being toxic) is that its dehydrating. And that physically hurts. So getting fluids back in your body is essential to bring it back to balance.
- Avoid caffeine. This is tricky, because if you’re a morning coffee drinker, axing it will only make things on your head worse. But the idea is again, it’s dehydrating. So perhaps try 1/2 cup and add more water to balance the impact.
- Eat carbs. You may be craving greasy eggs or a cheeseburger, but it’s not what the science shows you need. Simple carbs like crackers, cereal or toast will replace glycogen stores and get your blood sugar back to normal faster.
- Take it easy on the pain killers. There is a lot of research that shows that Tylenol (acetaminophen) can cause some damage to your liver. It’s already working over time trying to come up with the right enzymes to break down your toxic cocktail load, now throwing some Tyleon into the mix can make things worse. If it’s a must, stick to NSAIDS (Aspirin or Advil) and take a half dose.
- Exercise. Yup. While there isn’t much research to support the “sweating it out” concept, there is pleanty that show an increase in endorphins. So that will make you happy and happiness can cure all! But be sure to load up on the water, because remember rehydration is the name of the game today.
- No more booze. Heard of hair of the dog? More booze makes the pain go away? Well, in fact it does! But it’s just putting your hangover on a credit card. You still have to pay for it later, plus interest. So suck it up now and get over it. Unless you’re in Vegas for the weekend, then you should just keep the party going and plan to pay the taxes on Sunday.
- Pop some pills. By that I mean a multi vitamin. We don’t know exactly what you put your body through last night and your metabolism is still trying to figure out how to break it down and clear it out. So a multi vitamin will cover your basic needs…like a little insurance policy that covers many damages.
- Sleep it off. Sleep is a cure-all for all ailments. If your day allows you the freedom to sleep – do it! It will maximize your restorative benefits if your body does not need to focus on all the bother that comes with being awake.
- Sip some tea. Chamomile is know for anti-nausea affects and peppermint is a digestive aid relieving tension and bloating. Both are also high in water content, supporting rehydration. Add some honey to restore blood sugar levels or fresh grated ginger to also sooth a queazy stomach.
- Blender Magic. There are tons of things you can put in a blender to make you feel better. But the most important thing here is that you get yourself a tonic that you think will make you feel better. Your body will do what your mind tells it to. So if a blender cure is necessary, check this one out.
There you have it! What 15 years of drinking experience and a bachelors degree in nutritional science will teach you all summed up into 20 easy, practical, hangover cure and prevention tips. Try one, try all 10…hopefully not all 20 😉
What am I missing? Do you have a favorite hangover cure I must know about? Have you tried any of these with some success? I would love to hear about it!